On our farm we honour the ugly apple, the apples often overlooked in modern cideries and wineries. These apples were once valued for the flavour profile they bring to cider, and we’re happy to give them the attention they deserve.
Why is wild better? Wild apples are more complex and bring a depth of flavour to cider that is often missing when cider is made using eating apples. The flavour profiles of wild apples are also closer to the apples that would have been used to make cider hundreds of years ago. Wild apples are harder to pick but totally worth the effort! They are also a reflection of the cycles of nature, and have a lot more to do with poop than one might think.
Speaking of poop, here’s the (poop) scoop: Wild apple trees grow when wildlife like deer, bears, foxes, and raccoons eat an apple and then poop out the seeds. Where those seeds fall, they often germinate and sprout into apple trees that while aren’t true to the parent tree, still have lots of potential.
To create a tree that’s true to a parent tree, apple growers graft a branch from the tree they would like to recreate onto their selected rootstock, which determines the size of the tree.
So wild apple trees are basically a crap shoot (pun intended) where the final result is never guaranteed. This is intriguing to us at Ugly Apple because each year we embark on an experiment with our ciders, using the wild apples that happened to do well in a particular year.
Will it turn out? Will it taste good? We have no idea, and each year is a challenging adventure in flavours and blending. It’s an adventure that we love, and we hope you’ll love too.